Mets Mailbag: How would extensions for players like Francisco Lindor affect luxury tax threshold?

Andy Martino
·1 min read
Mets' Steve Cohen treated image with Mets hat, looking to side
Mets' Steve Cohen treated image with Mets hat, looking to side

SNY's Andy Martino will be responding to and breaking down answers to questions each day from readers. Here's the latest...

@aposten: How does it work with the luxury threshold if the Mets extend any of their players?

The useful website Spotrac has the Mets’ current luxury tax payroll at $192.7 million, or $17.3 million below the $210 million threshold.

As we’ve reported many times before, the team’s plan in the first winter of Steve Cohen’s ownership was to remain under the luxury tax. We’ve also reported that they would prefer to be $5-10 million under in advance of the July trade deadline, so they can add without exceeding the tax.

There was, however, enough flexibility in those plans for Cohen to make a one-time exception in approving the pursuit of free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer. That shows that the tax is more of a guideline than a firm rule.

The current payroll includes salaries of $22.3 million for Francisco Lindor, $12.3 million for Michael Conforto and $9.7 million for Noah Syndergaard.

If the Mets extended all three players, it would likely increase the 2021 luxury tax payroll by more than $17.3 million. Backloading a deal won’t help, because that luxury tax is calculated on the average annual value of a contract.

If the Mets really want to stay under the line, they could lower the AAVs with longer deals. They could also just cross the threshold, pay the penalty in the service of retaining their own players, and assume that the luxury tax rules will change anyway with a new CBA later this year.